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Expert warns Turkey's main goal is to gain control over Syria's Azaz, Jarabulus

Turkey's active military operations on the border with Syria may negatively affect the inter-Syrian peace talks in Geneva scheduled to resume on February 25, Head of the Center for Middle East and Central Asian Studies Semyon Bagdasarov told TASS on Tuesday.

"A threat exists for Turkey that Syrian Kurds may capture not only Azaz but also Jarabulus - a pass that is controlled by militants of the Islamic State [terrorist organization outlawed in Russia]," the expert said.

"This is why, Ankara's main goal today is to gain control of these populated settlements, i.e. the buffer zone," he added.

"The maximum task for Ankara is to launch an attack on the province of Aleppo under favorable conditions," the expert noted.

Turkey will be able to achieve its goals only by creating a powerful strike force on the border with Syria whose strength doesn't exceed 30,000-40,000 men today, the expert said.

"They will try to increase its strength to 70,000-80,000 men with 300-350 tanks and the appropriate number of artillery pieces, which will include multiple launch rocket systems, the expert said.

"Ankara's actions are complicated by the February 25 talks," the expert noted.

"Today, the Syrian conflict is at the stage when I don't see any diplomatic solution," he said.

[Source: Itar Tass, Mocow, 16Feb16]

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